Although the 2019 January Transfer Window ended two weeks ago, the future of several youth players is still in doubt.
In November 2018, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) proposed a series of new loan regulations. Whilst many football clubs loan dozens of players each season, FIFA’s newly proposed rules could see this figure cut down to half a dozen players.
FIFA would look to implement these changes during the 2020/21 season.
The proposal has become a major cause for concern for several of Europe’s elite clubs, one of which is Manchester City. Should these regulations be implemented, this will affect City’s current structure.
The Blues have 28 players on loan this season, far exceeding FIFA’s proposed limit of six players. When asked how City would address FIFA’s newly proposed regulations, manager Pep Guardiola said the Blues would have to comply.
Who are City’s loanees, and where are they located?
Over the past several seasons, the Blues have loaned players (both from the first team and the academy) to numerous clubs throughout the world, particularly to Spanish side Girona and Dutch club NAC Breda. Other loanees on previous occasions traveled to other parts of Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Perhaps the most well known player is Aleix García. The central midfielder has been on loan with Girona since the 2017/18 season and has played in 39 league matches. He became a regular at the club and helped Girona stay afloat in La Liga following their promotion from the second division in 2017.
García is joined by City teammates Douglas Luiz and Patrick Roberts.
Dutch club NAC Breda also has a contingency of City players. Like García at Girona, midfielder Paolo Fernandes regularly features for Breda, where he has played as a winger. Fernandes is joined by Luka Ilić and Erik Palmer-Brown, albeit they have not been as successful as their Spanish colleague.
Arijanet Muric was also on loan to NAC Breda, but was recalled to the senior team when Claudio Bravo unexpectedly became injured at the start of the season.
Meanwhile, Anthony Cáceres and Luke Brattan are on loan to Australian club Melbourne City whilst Ernest Agyiri and Aarone Nemane are with Belgian side Tubize. Brandon Barker and Lucas Nmecha are with English team Preston North End.
The rest of City’s loanees are predominantly scattered throughout Europe, specifically in Spain, the Netherlands, France, Scotland and England; three are in North America and one loanee is in South Korea.
Of these players, however, it is likely only a handful will make it into the senior squad. García and Fernandes have proven themselves on their respective loan spells, and should all go plan, it is possible they will join the senior team during the 2019/20 season.
As previously mentioned, Muric has already found himself as a member of the senior team and started in some of City’s cup matches this season.
As for the rest of City’s youthful contingency, things do not seem to be so bright. Given many of these players are lacking game time at their respective locations, it is likely City will look to offload some of them in the forthcoming 2019 Summer Transfer Window. Though it will be a shame to see this talent leave, this unfortunately is part of the game.
After all, as seen with Phil Foden and Brahim Díaz, some players will break into the senior team. Others will be sold.
Thus is football.